2019 In Tribute: Notable People We Lost

 

From Nigerian scholar, Pius Adeyemi to Nobel-winning novelist Toni Morrison and Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, here are some of the notable deaths of 2019.

JANUARY

– 10: Emir Of Lafia died of an undisclosed ailment at the age of 84.

– 13: Former South Africa star Philemon ‘Chippa’ Masinga died aged 49 in a Johannesburg hospital from cancer

– 21: Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, 28, was killed when the plane he was in crashed into the English Channel.

– 30 Grammy-Winning R&B Singer James Ingram dies at 66; his rise to fame came after he lent his smooth vocals to the songs “Just Once”

FEBRUARY

-11: NFF General Secretary Taiwo Ogunjobi died of a brief illness.

-16: Bruno Ganz, the actor whose role as Hitler inspired countless parodies died in Zurich, he was suffering from cancer. Ganz died aged 77.

-19: Iconic Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld died at 85. Lagerfeld was artistic director at Chanel.

-28: Veteran Musician Andre Previn died at 89.

MARCH

-01: Former Kano Governor, Hamza Abdullahi died in Germany of a brief illness.

-09: Mr Temitope Olatoye, a House Of Reps Member was shot dead in Oyo State.

-10: Nigerian scholar, author and popular columnist/activist, Pius Adesanmi, was among those killed when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed.

APRIL

-o1: Grammy-Nominated US Rapper, Nipsey Hussle was shot dead, he was only 33.

-13: Former Appeal Court President Mamman Nasir died at 90.

MAY

-12: Respected boxing judge turned broadcaster Harold Lederman died of cancer, he was 79.

-13: Hollywood Icon Doris Day died at 97, she had always been in good health till she contracted pneumonia.

-31: The President, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Francis Johnson died of a brief illness.

JUNE

-01: Ex-Arsenal Striker Jose Reyes died in a car crash.

-17: Egypt Ex-President Morsi died after fainting in court.

JULY

-07: Disney Star Cameron Boyce (20) died in his sleep.

-22: Precious Owolabi, a corps member serving with Channels TV died in a clash between Shiites and men of the Nigerian Police Force.

-25: Tunisia’s President Beji Essebsi died at 92, he was severely ill.

-27: Veteran Sports Journalist, Akinloye Oyebanji, died at the age of 62.

AUGUST

-06: Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison died at 88,

-12: DJ Arafat died in a road crash.

-27: First Gambia President, Dawda Jawara died at 95.

SEPTEMBER

-06: Zimbabwe Ex-President Robert Mugabe died aged 95, he died of an undisclosed ailment.

-19: Tunisia’s Ex-President Ben Ali died at 83.

-22: Ex-Ghanaian international Agogo died at 40, he suffered a stroke.

-23: Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator, Ambassador Osakwe passed on. It was undisclosed what the cause of his death was.

-26: Former SGF, Ufot Ekaette (80) died of a brief illness, he was appointed SGF in May 1999 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

-26: Former French President, Jacques Chirac died of an ill-health.

-29: Popular Twitter commentator Stanley Nwabia died following an unsuccessful blood transfusion procedure in Lagos.

OCTOBER

-03: Nigeria’s Olympic Silver Medalist, Isaac Promise died at 31, he is said to have collapsed at his apartment gym in Austin.

-07: Veteran Broadcaster Kunle Olasope died at 82.

-26: Deborah Jibowu died at 95, she was Nigeria’s first female science graduate.

-31: First Lagos Governor, Mobolaji Johnson died at 83. Johnson became governor of Lagos State in May 1967 until he retired from the Nigerian Army in July 1975 during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon (rtd).

NOVEMBER

-11: Former Petroleum Minister, Tam David-West died at 83, he served as Minister of Petroleum and Energy under President Muhammadu Buhari’s military regime.

-15: Nigeria’s Former Minister of Information, Alex Akinyele died at 81, he died of a brief ailment.

-27: Media personality, Binta Badmus, passed on allegedly due to a medical error. She worked with Smooth FM as a radio presenter before joining ‘The Other News’ on Channels TV.

DECEMBER

-07: Renowned Pentecostal Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke died aged 79, he was widely known for his gospel missions throughout African countries, including Nigeria and South Africa.

-18: Senator Ben Uwajumogu who was representing Imo North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, died at the nation’s capital, he was aged 51.

-31: Dr Muhammadu Adamu Fagengawo, a Reps Member representing Garki/Babura Federal constituency in Jigawa state, died at a hospital in Dubai.

May their families, friends and loved ones find comfort, solace, and fortitude to bear the loss.

Notable Deaths In 2019: Mugabe, Morrison, Reyes, DJ Arafat, Others

Robert Mugabe                          Toni Morrison                     Antonio Reyes                   DJ Arafat

 

 

From Nobel-winning novelist Toni Morrison to iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, here are some of the notable deaths of 2019:

– January –

– 21: Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, 28, was killed when the plane he was flying in crashed into the Channel.

– 26: French film composer Michel Legrand, who won three Oscars and scored such classics as “Yentl” (1983), died aged 86.

– February –

– 7: Veteran British actor Albert Finney, winner of three Golden Globes, passed away aged 82.

– 16: Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for his role as Adolf Hitler in “Downfall” (2004), died from cancer aged 77.

– 19: Haute couture legend Karl Lagerfeld, long-running artistic director of Chanel, died aged 85.

– 21: Stanley Donen, US director of such beloved Hollywood classic as “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952), was 94 when he died.

– 28: US-German composer and conductor Andre Previn, winner of 10 Grammys and four Oscars, died aged 89.

– March –

– 4: US actor Luke Perry died after a stroke at the age of 52.

– 4: Frontman of British rave band The Prodigy, Keith Flint, was found dead aged 49.

– 29: Pioneering female French film director Agnes Varda passed away aged 90.

– April –

– 17: Ex-Peruvian president Alan Garcia, 69, killed himself as the police were about to arrest him on bribery charges that he denied.

– May –

– 13: Hollywood legend Doris Day died aged 97.

– 16: Ieoh Ming Pei, Chinese-American architect of iconic modern structures such as the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, was 102 years old when he passed away.

– 20: Austria’s three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda died aged 70, eight months after a lung transplant.

– 22: British children’s author and illustrator Judith Kerr died aged 95.

– June –

– 1: Star Spanish football striker Jose Antonio Reyes, 35, was killed in a car crash.

– 15: Italian film-maker and opera director Franco Zeffirelli died aged 96.

– 17: Islamist Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, ousted in 2013 after one year of divisive rule, died in prison aged 67.

– 17: American heiress and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt passed away aged 95.

– July –

– 6: Brazilian musician and songwriter Joao Gilberto, a pioneer of bossa nova, died aged 88.

– 16: South African singer Johnny Clegg died at 66 years old from cancer.

– 17: Andrea Camilleri, the Italian novelist who created Sicilian detective Montalbano, passed away aged 93.

– 22: Former Chinese premier Li Peng, a hardliner in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, died at 90.

– 25: The world’s oldest president, Tunisian Beji Caid Essebsi, died aged 92, just ahead of the end of his first mandate.

– August –

– 5: Author Toni Morrison, the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, died aged 88.

– 10: US financier Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found dead in jail from an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking girls for sex.

– 12: Ivory Coast singer DJ Arafat died in a motorbike crash aged 33.

– 16: US actor Peter Fonda, best known for “Easy Rider” (1969), died from lung cancer aged 79.

– September –

– 3: German photographer Peter Lindbergh, credited with launching the careers of supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, died aged 74.

– 6: Zimbabwe’s autocratic leader Robert Mugabe, ousted by the military in 2017 after 37 years in power, died aged 95.

– 9: Pioneering Swiss-born documentary photographer Robert Frank passed away at 94.

– 19: Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the first leader to be toppled in the 2011 Arab Spring, died in exile in Saudi Arabia aged 83.

– 26: Jacques Chirac, French president from 1995 to 2007, died aged 86.

– 30: Celebrated American opera singer Jessye Norman died in hospital aged 74.

– October –

– 17: Alicia Alonso, Cuban ballet legend who taught well into her 90s, passed away at the age of 98.

– 17: US Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings died at 68 and was the first African-American lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol building.

– 22: Belgian Paralympic champion Marieke Vervoort, suffering from a degenerative muscle disease, ended her life through euthanasia aged 40.

– 26: Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his late 40s, blew himself up during a raid by US special forces in Syria.

– November –

– 24: Clive James, the Australian broadcaster, writer, critic and poet, died aged 80 after a long battle with leukaemia.

– 30: One of the leading conductors to emerge from the former Soviet Union, Latvian Mariss Jansons, 76, died of cardiac arrest at his home in Saint Petersburg.

– December –

– 8: Former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker passed away aged 92.

– 14: Danish-French actress Anna Karina, muse of New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, died of cancer aged 79.

– 21: French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro, died aged 86.

– 23: Algeria’s military chief, General Ahmed Gaid Salah, died from a heart attack aged 79.

AFP

Mugabe Left $10m, Two Houses – Report

Zimbabwean Ex-President Robert Mugabe attends the 2nd Session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe binational Commission (BNC) at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria. Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

Zimbabwe’s late former president Robert Mugabe left US$10 million, 10 cars, a farm and two houses, details of his estate released on Tuesday revealed.

The state-owned Herald newspaper said his daughter, Bona Nyepudzai Mutsahuni-Chikore, disclosed these assets to the High Court after the family had been unable to locate his will.

READ ALSO: Gabon’s Ex-Chief Of Staff Loses Ministerial Post

The $10 million (nine million euros) was in a foreign currency account with a local bank, the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), the report said.

It did not identify the make or model of the 10 cars.

During his presidency, Mugabe, who styled himself as a leftwing radical, was reported to own several farms that were seized during his controversial land reforms.

Only one farm is listed on the inventory of his assets.

His other properties, according to the list given to the High Court on October 21, include two houses in posh suburbs of the capital, Harare; his rural homestead in Zvimba; a two-hectare (five-acre)farming plot in Zvimba and a five-acre orchard.

Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe from the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1980 until being ousted in November 2017, died on September 6 at the age of 95 in Singapore, where he had been receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

“Mrs Grace Mugabe was listed as the sole surviving spouse while Bona, Robert, Bellarmine and stepson Russel Goreraza were listed as surviving children,” The Herald reported.

Mugabe once said in jest that he would remain in power until he turned 100.

He was ousted after 37 years in power and replaced by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe had fired weeks earlier.

The later years of his rule were characterised by food shortages, massive joblessness and the use of brutal force against his opponents.

Many had hoped Mnangagwa would fare better but the hardships that Zimbabweans suffered under Mugabe have returned to haunt the country.

According to the World Bank, extreme poverty is likely to affect 5.7 million Zimbabweans this year — equivalent to 34 percent of the population, after 29 percent in 2018.

Gross domestic product is likely to contract by 7.5 percent in 2019, it says.

AFP

Zimbabwe VP Returns After Months Of Medical Care In China

At Least 31 Dead As Cyclone Idai Hits Eastern Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who led the ousting of Robert Mugabe, returned home Saturday, four months after he was airlifted to China for medical care, state media reported.

Chiwenga, 63, who is seen as a major power-broker in Zimbabwean politics, had been in and out of hospital since the start of this year.

In July, the government said he was being flown to China for “further tests” after he had been hospitalised in neighbouring South Africa.

His ailment has not been disclosed.

Zimbabwe’s public health services have practically collapsed and more than 400 doctors have been sacked in recent weeks after they stopped going to work saying their salaries – decimated by hyperinflation – were not even enough for the commute to hospitals.

Those Zimbabweans who can afford it seek treatment in South Africa or elsewhere.

Ex-president Robert Mugabe died in September in Singapore where he had been receiving treatment for five months.

Chiwenga was welcomed back by the Chinese deputy ambassador to Harare Zhao Baogang, according to state broadcaster ZBC.

A video clip of his airport arrival shared on social media, showed no senior government official among the delegation receiving him when he stepped off a Chinese aircraft.

The then army chief led the military takeover that ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule in 2017.

Zimbabwe’s Ex-President Mugabe Finally Laid To Rest

 

The body of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe was buried on Saturday in a low-key ceremony in his home village after weeks of wrangling over his final resting place.

Family members threw white roses into the grave as the coffin of the liberation hero turned despot, draped in navy blue velvet, was lowered to its final resting place in the courtyard of his rural home about 90 kilometres (55 miles) west of Harare.

A boys choir from Mugabe‘s old highschool sang in the background.

The burial in the village of Kutama came after the Mugabe family finally opted to reject government proposals that he be laid to rest at the National Heroes Acre in the capital.

Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital on September 6, aged 95, almost two years after a military coup ended his autocratic 37-year rule.

Hundreds of mourners assembled for the burial, which was initially intended to be a private family event.

Many wore white Mugabe-emblazoned T-shirts with the slogans “founding father”, “liberator” and “torchbearer”.

Some sang and danced. Others sat quietly under two white tents.

Mugabe’s widow Grace and his children accompanied the coffin.

 

 

Clad in black, they took their places in a VIP tent ahead of the service.

The words “DAD” and “BABA”, meaning “father” in the local Shona language were spelled out in white flowers.

“Our hearts are bleeding because we have lost our father,” said the priest, standing next to a portrait of Mugabe framed by white carnations.

“This is a man who made use of the gifts he was given by God. This man was an asset, he was not a liability.”

No senior government officials were among the audience.

– ‘It’s his wish’ –

A mausoleum was being constructed at the site in Harare reserved for heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

However, the family said on Saturday he would not have wished to have been buried there.

“What we have done is his wish,” said Grace’s older sister Shuvai Gumbochuma, addressing mourners in Shona.

“He (Mugabe) said with his own mouth that he didn’t want to be buried at the heroes acre,” she said.

The ruling ZANU-PF party described the family’s decision as “most unfortunate”.

“All patriotic Zimbabweans were shocked to learn that the remains of the former president had been surreptitiously taken yesterday to Zvimba for a private burial,” said spokesman Simon Khaya-Moyo in a statement on Friday.

Former guerrilla leader Mugabe took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980.

Initially hailed as a pan-African liberator, Mugabe‘s rule became increasingly repressive as he cracked down on his political opponents.

This was combined with a series of disastrous economic policies that drove millions of Zimbabweans abroad.

Mugabe was eventually toppled by his formerly loyal military generals in 2017.

Many in the family are bitter over his ouster and the role played by his deputy and successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was elected president in 2018.

 

 

The army turned against Mugabe after he sacked Mnangagwa, a move many saw as an attempt to position Grace to succeed him.

Zimbabwe remains deeply split over his legacy.

“I was very comfortable that he be buried at the heroes acre,” said local official Christopher Ndlovu before the ceremony.

“That’s what we wanted as local villagers. But since it’s a family decision to bury him here, we will respect it.”

 

 

Mugabe’s Burial Begins In Zimbabwe

Priests stand near a portrait of Robert Mugabe during the burial of the former Zimbabwe leader at his home village in Kutama, on September 28, 2019. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

The family of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe gathered in his rural homestead on Saturday, three weeks after his death, to attend a much-awaited burial ceremony in the village of Kutama.

Mugabe died in a Singapore hospital on September 6, aged 95, almost two years after a military coup ended his despotic 37-year rule.

His remains will be laid to rest in the courtyard of his home in the district of Zvimba, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) west of the capital Harare.

Hundreds of mourners assembled for the low-key event, which was initially intended to be a private family ceremony.

Many wore white Mugabe-emblazoned T-shirts with the slogans “founding father”, “liberator” and “torch bearer.”

Some were singing and dancing. Others sat quietly under two white tents set up for the occasion.

Mugabe’s widow Grace and his children accompanied the casket — drapped in Zimbabwe’s green, yellow, red and black flag.

No senior government officials were among the audience.

The Mugabe family decided to bury Zimbabwe’s founding father in Kutama after weeks of wrangling with the government, who wanted the body to rest at the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

A mausoleum was being constructed at the site, which is reserved for heroes of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

Former guerilla leader Mugabe took power after independence from white minority rule in 1980.

Initially hailed as a pan-African liberator, Mugabe’s rule became increasingly repressive as he cracked down on his political opponents.

This combined with a series of disastrous economic policies to drive millions of Zimbabweans abroad.

Mugabe was toppled by his formerly loyal army generals in 2017.

Many in Mugabe’s family are bitter over his ouster and the role played by his deputy and successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was elected president in 2018.

Zimbabwe remains deeply split over his legacy.

Mugabe To Be Buried This Weekend – Family

Pallbearers carry the coffin of late former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for a mass at the family homestead in Kutama village, 80km northwest of Harare, on September 17, 2019.

 

The remains of Zimbabwe’s ex-president Robert Mugabe who died early this month, have been moved from his Harare house to his rural village ahead of burial expected this weekend, his family said on Friday.

After weeks of wrangling between the government and his family over the final resting place for the country’s founding leader, the Mugabes have opted to entomb him at his birthplace and rural home, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) west of the capital Harare.

The body was moved by road on Thursday evening under police and military vehicles escort, according to a video clip shared on Twitter.

It was the second time it made its way back to Kutama village in Zvimba district where Mugabe was born 95 years ago.

When the body was first taken home last week for the public to pay their last respects, it was airlifted by a military helicopter.

“The body arrived (at the village) around 1900 hours, yesterday,” family spokesman and Mugabe’s nephew Leo Mugabe told AFP on Friday.

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, told the state-owned The Herald daily on Thursday that “the body of the late Mugabe left Harare for Zvimba, awaiting burial set for Saturday”.

The decision to bury Mugabe in the village is seen as an apparent snub of the government offer to bury him at what was to be a specially-built mausoleum at a national heroes shrine in Harare where dozens of other prominent independence war veterans are interred.

The family had previously agreed to have his body entombed at the shrine where preparations for a special mausoleum were already in progress.

Minister Ziyambi said the family had earlier consented that they were “happy with burial at Heroes Acre”, but suddenly on Thursday “they indicated that they want to go to Zvimba and (the) government agreed”.

The family gave no reason for the change of plans.

The former guerilla leader, who came to power at the end of white minority rule in 1980 and ruled Zimbabwe uninterrupted for 37 years and seven months, died of prostate cancer, according to his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He was toppled on November 2017 in a military-backed coup, ending an increasingly iron-fisted rule marked by political oppression and economic ruin.

Mugabe’s health deteriorated rapidly after the ousting and he made regular medical trips to Singapore, where he died on September 6.

AFP

Mugabe To Be Buried At Home Village

Pallbearers carry the coffin of late former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for a mass at the family homestead in Kutama village, 80km northwest of Harare, on September 17, 2019.

 

Zimbabwe announced on Thursday that ex-president Robert Mugabe will be buried at his home village in Zvimba as requested by his family.

The government said the family of the former leader, who died in Singapore on September 6 aged 95, “has expressed its desire to proceed with his burial in Zvimba”.

“Government is cooperating with the Mugabe family in their new position,” government spokesman Nick Mangwana said in a statement.

Tensions erupted after the government proposed a burial at the National Heroes Acre while the family insisted on a private ceremony in Mugabe’s homestead.

Government did not state the burial date, but “all the necessary support” will be provided “to give the late former president a fitting burial as led by the family.”

The family was not immediately reachable for comment, but a close family associate and some local private media said the burial would take place on Saturday.

“The position as I understand it is that the body will be in Zvimba today for burial on Saturday,” a source close to the Mugabe family told AFP.

The former guerilla leader, who came to power at the end of white minority rule in 1980 and ruled Zimbabwe uninterrupted for 37 years and seven months, died of prostate cancer, according to his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He was toppled on November 2017 in a military-backed coup, ending an increasingly iron-fisted rule marked by political oppression and economic ruin.

Mugabe’s health deteriorated rapidly after the ousting and he made regular trips to Singapore to seek treatment.

His burial place was caught up in a dispute between his family — who wanted to bury him at his rural homestead Zvimba — and the government, which pushed for the body to rest at a national monument in the capital.

Two weeks ago the family said they had agreed that he would be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument, in about a month, once a mausoleum was built for him.

But on Thursday they made an about-turn, reverting to their original plan.

AFP

Zimbabwe Under Mugabe

 

Following are key dates in the 37-year rule of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. 

The government announced Thursday that he would be buried in his home village of Zvimba, in line with his family’s wishes. He was given a state funeral in Harare on Sept 14.

From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe 

April 18, 1980

Rhodesia gains independence after 90 years as a British colony, taking the new name Zimbabwe. The 1972-1979 war of independence between nationalist blacks and the minority white regime led by Ian Smith has left 27,000 dead.

Mugabe, head of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), takes power as prime minister. Joshua Nkomo, head of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU), Mugabe’s partner in the armed struggle, becomes interior minister.

February 1982

Nkomo, accused of plotting a coup, is dismissed. Armed resistance in his stronghold of Matabeleland is met with bloody government repression. At least 20,000 people die.

December 30, 1987

Mugabe becomes head of state after reforming the constitution to usher in a presidential regime. Two years later rival movements merge to become the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

 White farms seized 

February 2000

Squatters and pro-Mugabe war veterans start a violent campaign of seizure of white farms.

More than 4,000 of the 4,500 white farmers are stripped of their land, with the support of the regime, with the official goal of correcting colonial-era inequalities.

 Mugabe hangs on 

March 2002

Mugabe is re-elected president in a poll marred by violence and widely denounced as rigged. Western sanctions are imposed.

March 2008

ZANU-PF is defeated by Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in parliamentary polls. Tsvangirai wins the first-round presidential vote, but withdraws from the second round, citing violence against his supporters. Mugabe is inaugurated for a new term.

August 2013

Mugabe is declared re-elected in July 31 elections with 61 percent of the vote, against Tsvangirai’s 34 percent.

Tsvangirai describes the election as a “huge farce” and “null and void”.

The EU, however, starts normalising relations with Zimbabwe, lifting most of its sanctions.

 Purge 

December 2014

Mugabe names his 49-year-old wife Grace as head of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s women’s wing. He seeks to quell infighting over his successor by purging his foes.

April 2016

The MDC gathers more than 2,000 demonstrators in Harare in the biggest march organised for a decade against Mugabe.

November 2017

Mugabe fires Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, long considered his probable successor, who has close ties to the military and the powerful independence war veterans. Mnangagwa flees the country.

 Downfall and death 

November 13, 2017

Army chief General Constantino Chiwenga demands a “stop” to purges and warns the military could intervene.

November 14-15, 2017

Tanks take up position in Harare. Mugabe is placed under house arrest with his family.

November 19, 2017

The ZANU-PF party sacks Mugabe as its leader.

November 21, 2017

Mugabe resigns as head of state. Three days later Mnangagwa is sworn in as his successor, promising to fight corruption and reduce poverty.

September 6, 2019

Mugabe dies in Singapore at the age of 95. The cause of death is later given as cancer.

AFP

Traditional Beliefs, Rituals Fuel Tensions Over Mugabe’s Funeral

Pallbearers carry the coffin of late former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for a mass at the family homestead in Kutama village, 80km northwest of Harare, on September 17, 2019.

As public wakes for late Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe have drawn to a close, traditional chiefs are demanding the body be buried according to spiritual traditions.

Those requests have been part of a dispute over the final burial of Mugabe, who died September 6 almost two years after a coup ended his increasingly autocratic 37-year rule.

He died during a medical trip to Singapore aged 95, leaving Zimbabweans torn over the legacy of a man who some still laud for his role as a colonial-era liberation hero.

Mugabe’s burial has already been caught up in a dispute between his family — who wanted to bury him at his rural homestead Zvimba — and the government, which pushed for the body to rest at a national monument in the capital.

They finally agreed Mugabe would be buried at the National Heroes Acre monument, in about 30 days, once a mausoleum was built for him.

But Mugabe was a non-practising chief in his homestead, and the burial feud has highlighted the spiritual beliefs, superstitions and rituals surrounding deaths of traditional leaders in parts of Zimbabwe.

Once Mugabe’s remains were returned to Zvimba on Monday, traditional leaders demanded the burial remain in line with local rites.

One of the Zvimba chiefs, Raphael Zvikaramba, said they had “so far” accepted the government’s proposal, but refused to comment on the details.

“(Zvimba) chiefs are buried in caves and the burial is secretly conducted at night,” Mugabe’s nephew Dominic Matibiri told AFP, standing outside his late uncle’s rural house.

‘Not just a president’

A prominent Zimbabwean traditional healer, Benjamin Burombo Jnr, detailed the cultural beliefs and superstition surrounding the deaths and funerals of chiefs.

“When a chief such as Mugabe dies, he is not a person that can be buried at Heroes Acre, that is forbidden. He should be buried in a cave,” Burombo told AFP.

“Mugabe was not just a president, but he was the embodiment of the spirit of Kaguvi,” he added, referring to one of Zimbabwe’s revered spirit mediums and pre-colonial nationalist leader.

When a chief died, often his body “would be dried”, his teeth “extracted” and his finger and toenails “ripped off”, Burombo said.

He said the body would then be wrapped in skin hides before burial, and could even be swapped with a token such as a goat’s head to be buried instead.

“You can build that monument, but it doesn’t mean that is where the remains of Mugabe will be buried… it’s just for people to continue remembering him.”

Mugabe grew up Catholic and was educated by Jesuits. But according to Burombo, he still followed “traditional norms and practices” despite “going to church”.

Exaggerating the mystery

Mugabe’s remains currently lie in his childhood village of Kutama, in Zvimba district, about 90 kilometres (56 miles) west of Harare.

During a mass held in his honour, priest Emmanuel Ribeiro — a former acquaintance — said the former president “was secretive and private” about his beliefs.

Retired sociology professor Claude Mararike told AFP the secrecy surrounding the funerals of traditional chiefs had “long vanished”.

He said that in the past, death would only be revealed days or even weeks after burial.

“Very few people knew where the chief was buried,” Mararike said. “There were caves where a particular clan normally buried their own chiefs.”

But Mararike said that long-standing political tensions between the family and government “might have precipitated” the discord and mystery surrounding the funeral.

Mugabe’s family are still bitter over the role current President Emmerson Mnangagwa played in his ouster.

A former guerrilla who fought alongside Mugabe against colonial forces, Mnangagwa was fired as first vice president in 2017. Mugabe had branded him a “traitor”.

Soon after, protesters took to the streets and military officers pressured Mugabe to step down in what was widely seen as a struggle between Mnangagwa’s faction and loyalists to Mugabe’s wife Grace inside the ruling ZANU-PF party.

“There obviously was quite a lot of anger among the Zvimba people on how their son was removed from office,” said Mararike.

“The late president Mugabe might have said something before he died,” he added referring to how he wanted to be buried, “but what he really said we don’t know”.

AFP

Crowd Boos Ramaphosa At Mugabe’s Funeral Over Xenophobic Attacks

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa bows on September 14, 2019, as he says a final farewell at the casket of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a farewell ceremony held for family and heads of state at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
TONY KARUMBA / AFP

 

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was jeered and whistled at on Saturday during his speech at Zimbabwe ex-leader Robert Mugabe’s funeral before he apologised for recent xenophobic attacks.

At least 12 people have been killed this month in a surge in violence and mob attacks against foreign-owned businesses in and around Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.

A wave of jeers, boos and whistles interrupted Ramaphosa at the Harare national stadium as he started his eulogy at the state funeral for Mugabe, who died age 95 last week.

“I stand before you as a fellow African to express my regret and apologise for what has happened in our country,” Ramaphosa said after one of the organisers tried to calm the crowd.

READ ALSO: Mugabe’s Legacy Will Live Long In The Hearts Of Africans – Osinbajo

His comments were met with cheers and blasts of sound horns from the crowd.

South Africa, the continent’s second-largest economy, is a major destination for other African migrants. But they are often targeted by some locals who blame them for a lack of jobs.

But with shops and homes burned and looted and clashes between armed mobs of looters and police, hundreds of migrants from Mozambique and Zimbabwe have fled to shelters.

Nigeria’s government has flown around 600 of its citizens home from Johannesburg after some of them were targeted in the violence.

AFP

Osinbajo To Visit Zimbabwe As Mugabe’s Funeral Holds Saturday

   Yemi Osinbajo                                                                                                                        Robert Mugabe

 

 

A State Funeral for former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, will be held on Saturday at the country’s National Stadium in Harare.

Nigeria will be represented at the event by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande said in a statement on Friday.

Professor Osinbajo would be joining other African leaders and Heads of State also expected at the occasion.

READ ALSO: Mugabe’s Family Agree To Burial In ‘Heroes’ Monument

Those expected to attend include President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya among others.

Vice President Osinbajo, who would be accompanied on the trip by senior government officials, would leave for Harare on Friday afternoon and is expected back in Nigeria later on Saturday.

Late Mugabe, who was Zimbabwean Prime Minister and later President until 2017 for 37 years altogether, died last week at the age of 95 in a hospital in Singapore.